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Southern Ethiopia and Bale Mountains (12 days)

About this Tour:

This tour is ideal for travelers who wish to explore Ethiopia’s South with its stunning landscapes and unique tribes of the Omo Valley.
This tour continues from the Omo Valley to the Great Rift Valley and the Bale Mountains, where at an altitude of more than 4000 m above sea level, you will have the best chance to observe several endemic animal species, amongst them the endangered Ethiopian wolf.

Highlights:

  • Stelae of Tyia (UNESCO world heritage site)
  • Boat Safari on lake Chamo with Africa’s biggest crocodiles, hippos and numerous bird species
  • Mago National Park and Omo Valley (UNESCO world heritage site) with unique tribes
  • Visit of the colourful markets of Key Afer and Dimeka in the Omo Valley
  • Authentic encounters with locals during visits of several communities
  • Visit of the Konso region (UNESCO world heritage site)
  • Breath-taking landscapes of the Bale Mountains National Park with numerous endemic animal- and bird species.
  • Overnight at the Rift Valley lakes of Hawassa and Langano

Short Info:

  • Tour code: WET-SE-12
  • Time: mid-September – mid-June
  • Next date for seat-in group (max. 8 Pax): 19.03. – 30.03. 2018
  • Hotel standard: may be chosen as basic or higher standard
  • Number of domestic flights: 0
  • Required fitness level: no requirements

Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa and City Tour

Upon arrival at Bole International Airport you will be met by a Welcome Ethiopia Tours representative and be taken to your reserved hotel. Depending on your arrival time, we have various sightseeing options:

  • Mount Entotowith the best views over the capital.
  • Institute of Ethiopian Studies, where you can see a variety of artifacts from all the different regions reflecting the history and culture of the country
  • National Museum which among other exhibits the 3.5-million-year-old bones of Lucy.
  • George Cathedral, where paintings by the famous Ethiopian artist Afework Tekele and other ecclesiastical wealth and cultural heritage of the past are displayed.
  • Trinity Cathedral: this is the burial place of members of the imperial family and noted patriots; the cathedral is the most magnificent of its kind in the country, ornamented with carvings, mosaics and other artistic works.
  • The Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa

Hotel:
Basic:
Lobelia Hotel or similar, Addis Ababa (www.hotellobeliaaddis.com)
Higher Standard: Getfam Hotel or similar 4-star hotel, Addis Ababa (www.getfamhotel.com)

Day 2: Addis Ababa – Arba Minch (465km)

After breakfast, we drive to Arba Minch (approx. 7hrs.), with a stop on the way at Tiya (80km from Addis Ababa) to explore the Stelae field of Tiya, listed as UNESCO world heritage site. Mysterious engraved stelae stretch across Southern Ethiopia. The field comprises some 45 stones of up to 2-3m in height. We then continue to Arba Minch with some fantastic scenery, including the best spot to view the two rift valley lakes, Lake Abaya to the north and Lake Chamo to the South. We will arrive at the lodge in the late afternoon.and you may relax at the lodge with stunning views from the terrace.

Overnight: 
Basic: Swayne’s Hotel or similar, Arba Minch
Higher Standard: Paradise Lodge, Arba Minch (www.paradiselodgeethiopia.com)

Day 3: Arbaminch – Lake Chamo – Arbaminch

Morning:
After breakfast, we will visit Dorze people with some fantastic scenery, including the Wolayta farmlands, with views of the lush green hills and valleys. The Dorze village is found high in the Guge Mountains overlooking lake Abaya and lake Chamo.

Afternoon:
We undertake a boat cruise on lake Chamo and search for Africa’s biggest crocodiles (up to 6m long), hippos and a large variety of bird life.

Overnight: 
Basic: Swayne’s Hotel or similar, Arba Minch
Higher Standard: Paradise Lodge, Arba Minch (www.paradiselodgeethiopia.com)

Day 4:  Arbaminch – Konso – Key Afer Market – Jinka (240 km)

After breakfast, we drive to Konso approx. (travelling time 3.5 hrs.). Konso is another UNESCO Cultural Heritage site. We will visit the village compound and the the local museum, and usually we are also welcomed in the Konso chief’s compound, which includes the family graveyard and house mummies. The Konso people have a rich agrarian culture and construct ingenious terraces and walls that encircle their fields and villages for protection against livestock damage and flooding.
From Konso we continue our journey to the colourful market of Key Afer (Thursdays only) frequented by several tribes of the Omo valley, such as Derase, Tsemay, Benna and Ari, before reaching Jinka in the late afternoon.

Overnight:
Basic:
Jinka Resort or Camping at Eco-Omo Lodge, Jinka
Higher Standard: Eco-Omo Lodge, Jinka (www.eco-omo.com)

 

Day 5: Jinka – Mago National Park (Mursi) — Turmi (160 km)

Morning:
We enter the Mago National park (travelling time approx. 2hrs), admiring different animals and birds on the way; and proceed to visit to the Mursi tribe and their villages. One of the most unique tribes in Africa. Here women use huge round lips plates for beauty reasons

Afternoon:
After lunch, we continue our trip to Turmi (approx. 3 hrs), where we will meet the fascinating Hamer tribe. Turmi is our base to explore the Southern tribes of the Omo Valley. The whole region of the Southern Omo is UNESCO world heritage site since 1980.

Overnight:
Basic:
Turmi Lodge or Camping near Buska Lodge, Turmi
Higher Standard:
Buska Lodge, Turmi (www.buskalodge.com)

Hamer woman, Ethiopia

Day 6: Turmi – Dimeka Market – Turmi

Morning:
After breakfast, we visit the colourful market in Dimeka near Turmi (Saturdays only), frequented by several tribes of the Omo valley.

Afternoon:
Turmi is well known for its traditional events and with some luck we will even participate in a Hamer marriage ceremony, with its bull jumping ceremony and more! In the late afternoon, we will also visit a nearby Hamer village and encounter the tribe in its daily life surroundings. With some luck, we may even witness a moonshine dance (Evangadi), a traditional dance of young Hamer men and women.

Overnight:
Basic:
Turmi Lodge or Camping near Buska lodge, Turmi
Higher Standard:
Buska Lodge, Turmi (www.buskalodge.com)

Day 7: Turmi – Omorate – Konso

Morning: Turmi – Omorate- Turmi (140 km):
Today we take an excursion to visit the Dassanech Ethnic group (70 km, one way), famous for their nomad lifestyle and very interesting decoration and scarification on their bodies. There are also great views of the Omo river when crossing in a dugout canoe.

Afternoon: Turmi – Konso (180 km)
After lunch, we drive back to Konso (approx. 3.5 hrs.). We will reach the well-kept Kanta Lodge in the late afternoon.

Overnight:
Kanta Lodge, Konso

Day 8: Konso – Hawassa (350 km)

Morning
After breakfast, we drive to Hawassa (approx. 8hrs), the capital town of the southern people’s nations and nicknamed as “The town of endless Love”. In Hawassa you can recover from the strengths of travelling in the 5-star resort of the famous Ethiopian runner Haile Gebre Selassie. From Sauna, steam bath to beauty treatment nothing should be missing here and the sunset is usually fantastic!

Afternoon:
We arrive at the luxurious Haile Resort in Hawassa early enough to enjoy the beautiful sunset over the lake.

Overnight:
Basic:
South Star Hotel, Hawassa (www.southstarinternationalhotel.com)
Higher Standard: Haile Resort, Hawassa (www.hailehotelsandresorts.com)

Day 9: Hawassa – Dinsho – Goba (200 km)

Morning:
We drive from Hawassa to the Bale Mountains National Park headquarters in Dinsho, where we will take a gentle but very interesting walk and usually encounter a great variety of animals and birds, particularly a large number of the endemic mountain Nyala.

Afternoon:
We continue to Goba or to the Bale Mountains Lodge, where we will spend

Overnight:
Basic:
Wabeshebele Hotel, Goba
Higher standard: Bale Mountains Lodge, Bale Mountains National Park (www.balemountainlodge.com)

Day 10: Goba – Senette Plateau (Bale Mountains) – Goba

Morning /Afternoon:
We drive into the Bale Mountain National Park (34 km), the second national park in Ethiopia underway to be become soon an UNESCO world nature site due to its stunning landscapes, rich flora and fauna. We explore the highest all-weather road of Africa to the largest moorland tract in Africa, the Senetti plateau. With a little luck, here we should encounter the endemic Ethiopian Wolf and its favorite prey, the Giant Mole Rat. In addition to the Senetti Plateau, we will also explore the Harena escarpments and its rainforests. Highland birding includes the Abyssinian Catbird, Abyssinian Woodpecker, White-backed Black Tit, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Yellow-crowned Canary, Somali Chestnut-winged Starling, Olive Pigeon and Mountain Buzzard. In the late afternoon, we drive to the Bale Mountain Lodge for the night.

Overnight:
Basic:
Wabeshebele Hotel, Goba
Higher Standard: Bale Mountains Lodge, Bale National Park (www.balemountainlodge.com)

 

Day 11: Goba – Lake Langano (250 km)

Morning:
We leave the mountains and drive to Lake Langano in the heart of the Great Rift Valley (approx. 4hrs).

Afternoon:
We may either visit Lake Abyata Shalla National Park with great views over the Rift Valley or you may relax at the beach of the Lake Resort (swimming is possible).

Overnight: Sabana Lodge, Langano (www.sabanalangano.com)

Lake Langano, Ethiopia

Day 12: Lake Langano – Addis Ababa (200 km)

Morning / Afternoon:
We drive back to Addis through Debre Zeyt (approx. 4hrs.) and reach Addis late in the afternoon (a day room until departure will be provided).

Evening:
In the evening, you will be invited for a traditional Ethiopian dinner and dance show at a renowned restaurant of Addis Ababa. Then you will be transferred to the airport for your departure.

 

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